Friday, April 18, 2008

SSD & Mental Disability

I represent a 44 year old former CEO of a construction company, who became unable to work because of mental impairments. When evaluating mental disability, the Social Security Administration (“SSA”) frequently fails to understand that a person may be entitled to Social Security Disability “SSD” benefits even if the claimant does not meet a “Listed” mental impairment. A listed impairment is a medical condition that is considered so severe that the claimant is automatically deemed disabled.

The claimant was denied benefits despite the fact that his treating psychologist provided a written explanation as to why the claimant met listings for depression and anxiety. Nonetheless, I argued that that the claimant’s mental impairments required finding him disabled under the SSA’s Program Operations Manual System ("POMS"). When a claimant alleges a mental limitation that does not meet or equal a listing, the POMS says the SSA must consider whether the claimant has the ability to meet the mental demands of his past relevant work, and if not, whether he has the ability to adjust to other work considering his remaining mental and other functional capacities and vocational factors.

I secured a report from the claimant’s psychologist specifying how the claimant was unable to meet the basic mental demands of unskilled work. Based on those limitations, I submitted an on-the-record request to approve the claimant’s application to the SSA, which was granted five weeks later. As a result, the claimant avoided the nearly two year wait for a hearing

No comments: